From the moment your child is born you want to be there for them. However, at a certain point, you must let them figure out things on their own. Little by little you have to loosen the safeties that you have wrapped them up in and allow them to make mistakes and learn from life experiences.
While we don’t encourage giving your 12-year-old keys to their own apartment you can allow them to have independence in safe environments. Start by letting them take on more and more tasks that you know they can complete without your help. They may make mistakes the first few times as they figure out how to do things without you but they will learn much more from that experience. Children will learn far more from failure than you wrapping them in cotton wool.
Help them understand failure
In the current internet age, failure can be tough. When children go online all they see is success. Successful influencers on social media, successful models, successful gamers. It can be daunting. Show them how failure is part of growth so that they don’t take it badly. Most of all, show them that they are not defined by their mistakes.
There is some stuff they will just not be able to do, but that is not a reason to try. Challenge them to some of the tougher tasks so that they have stretch goals in their mind. The first time you may be certain they will fail but over time they will achieve so much because you challenged them again and again. While it is important to be there when your children need you, sometimes they learn far more when the safety net is removed.
That does not mean you should not be there for your kids. You should look for excuses to celebrate everything your child does. When your kid achieves something big or small it should be a big deal to you. Kids are walking down an unknown path. If you are there to cheer them on all the way they will feel much better about it. Celebrate every success they have and they will grow in confidence about their abilities.
While no one wants their parents to be their only fans in life, everyone should have their parents as a fan. Show an interest in the things that your child does so that they feel like they are an interesting person. As they go through different stages at school people will try to knock them down because of the choice they make. By showing an interest in anything they do whether it is strange or boring you can help them to build the confidence to not care when others try to put them down.
If you don’t trust your kids then they will never give you a reason to trust them. If you watch everything your daughter does and make sure she is home by a certain time, she is the most likely child to sneak out and do things you will never hear about. If you make your home a trusting environment and explain to your child that the world is full of obstacles that are tough to navigate and all you want to do is help, they will appreciate it far more. Growing up is never easy but if they have a safe place that is free from judgment to come home to, they will.
The most important thing is to give your child the space to grow without leaving them feeling they have no support. Create a trusting environment where you are there to guide them but not to do all the work.